Monday 29 May 2017

Meanwhile In The Real World

Last week, BBC Radio 5 Live featured a spot on the new TPD regulations on tobacco (around 1 hr 8 mins here), along with the cowardly gold-plating which the UK government added by including pointless plain packaging to the mix.

Part of the piece included this very telling vox pop section with retailers and consumers in Haverhill, Suffolk. It is 2 minutes long so do have a listen.

You'll note that the real people spoken to were all of the opinion that none of these silly rules will have any effect on whether people smoke or not. Those who were in retail had first hand experience of how there was absolutely no effect at all except to encourage smokers to trade down ... as we all predicted but ASH etc denied.

You will also notice many other themes crop up which dominated the debate back in 2012 and 2013. That plain packaging will not make anyone quit; that it will lead to an increase in the black market, that smokers will just go for the cheapest product; that it makes people buy more; that it makes it difficult for retailers to find the packs; and that there will be no difference in sales whatsoever.

In short, everything that we warned about on these pages has come true. While everything that ASH and their similarly tax-funded propagandists predicted from their rose-tinted, funding-focused crystal ball, won't.

Predictably, though, later in the feature Hazel Cheeseman (you may remember her nonsense from last week) defaulted to tobacco control central's lamest argument and just stated that this was all bollocks, all just a tobacco industry lie. We've seen this before, including when an ASH trustee denied the most fundamental aspects of economics to say that black markets are not driven by price, and that this was also a tobacco industry lie. No, really, she did!

The people of Haverhill, I expect, know pretty much nothing about the debate that went on in 2012/13; they are speaking about their lived experience rather than models on a spreadsheet, manipulated research and bare-faced corruption that the tobacco control Goliath pumped out purely to ensure they received another round of funding the next year (because that is the very simple purpose of ASH, they have absolutely no care about health or they'd have waved through e-cigs in a heartbeat).

Cheeseman also resorted to lame tobacco control argument number two, which is to just say 'children' a lot. Of course, we know how plain packs went on that score, now don't we?

In fact, we know a hell of a lot about what went on in Australia following plain packs, and none of it is good. It's a story of obfuscation, policy-led evidence-making, desperate stuttering scrambling of state power to avoid awkward questions, unconvincing deceit and downright lies. If you have 22 mins to spare, I recommend you watch this presentation of how Australian officials wriggled and wriggled to avoid being transparent about plain packaging, which is odd considering they trumpeted its unmitigated success.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it is staggering to see government agencies throwing huge sums of our taxes towards people who are incapable of telling the truth.

Real life is showing them up to be incredibly dishonest organisations packed full of repulsive individuals who value their own salaries above truth, fair debate, and what might actually work towards the good of public health. They throw huge sums of cash at a pointless folly like plain packaging while fighting tooth and nail to protect stifling regulations on e-cigs .. which are proving in real life to be working.

Why the fuck are we paying these people to live in their lavishly-funded fantasy cocoon, while the the real world is proving them all wrong on a daily basis and will continue to do so. It's almost like, I dunno, it's not about health after all!

It's time legislators started listening to what the public thinks about these stupid and trivial policy interventions instead of hopelessly conflicted organisations like ASH who derive their income from promoting more and more irrelevance. Why not cut out the middle man, stick these hideous parasites on the dole and save the country a small fortune. 

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